Taking his cue from today’s liturgy, the Pope said that “if to save us the Son of God had to suffer and die crucified, this is certainly not part of a cruel plan by the Celestial Father. It is due to the gravity of the illness from which he had to heal us; a very serious and deadly illness that require all his blood. It is in fact with his death and resurrection that Jesus defeated sin and death and re-established God’s lordship. However, the struggle is not over yet,” he added. “Evil exists and resists in each generation, even in our day and age. What are the horrors of war, the violence on the innocent, the merciless misery and injustice of the weak, but evil’s opposition to the Kingdom of God? How can we respond to so much wickedness if not with the disarming strength of love that beats hatred, of life that does not fear death? It is the mysterious strength that Jesus used at the price of being misunderstood and abandoned by his own people.”
“Dear brothers and sisters, to fully achieve the work of salvation, the Redeemer continues to have men and women join him and his mission in taking the cross and following him. As it was for Christ, carrying the cross is not optional for Christians but a mission to embrace out of love. In the today’s world, where the forces that divide and destroy appear to rule, Christ never stops to extend his clear invitation to all: Those who want to be my disciples must reject their selfishness and carry the cross with me.”
Following the Marian prayer the Holy Father addressed the issue of illegal immigration. As it turned into an “emergency” he reminded leaders of their responsibilities, in both the countries where migrants go seeking a better life and where they come from, asking them to improve conditions and fight the criminal activities that too often come with clandestine migration.
“In these last few weeks,” he said, “news coverage of irregular immigration from Africa shows a rise. Often crossing the Mediterranean to the European continent, seen as a place of hope where one can flee bad and often unbearable situations, turns into tragedy. The one that occurred just a few days ago appears to have surpassed previous ones in terms of the number of victims. Migration is something that has taken place since the dawn of humanity’s history, and has always been a feature of the relations between peoples and nations.”
“The emergency which it has now become calls for our attention, and whilst it spurs our solidarity, it also requires a proper political response. I know that many at the regional, national and international levels are involved in finding a solution to the issue of irregular migration. I applaud and encourage them so that they might continue in their worthy action responsibly and in a humanitarian spirit. Migrants’ countries of origin must also show a sense of responsibility, not only because the people involved are their citizens but also because they must work to remove the causes of irregular migration as well as suppress at the roots all connected forms of criminal activity. For their part European countries, or at least countries of immigration, must develop joint initiatives and build joint structures that are more appropriate to the needs of irregular migrants. The latter must also be made aware of the value of their lives, a commodity that is always precious and unique and which must be protected against the great risks incurred in trying to improve one’s lot; they must also be reminded of their obligation to respect the law. As everyone’s Father I feel the profound duty to call upon everyone to become aware of the problem and ask for the generous cooperation of individuals and institutions in facing it and in finding solutions. May the Lord accompany us and make our efforts fruitful!”
At the end of the Angelus the Pope greeted in Spanish a group from Cuba, blessing “Cuba and all Cubans.